Tantric Somatic (body-based) meditation for me is self-inquiry through the body where we witness, feel, express and release and let go! The healthy masculine is aware and present and the feminine is feeling and flowing.
In this blog, I guide you through a series of tantric meditation practices, enabling you to explore your physical body as a way of meditating. If you can give yourself 20min every day simply to explore yourself through body based meditation, over a period of time you will find that that 20min has more impact on your life than any other 20min that you could ever possibly spend. This daily practice will have more positive impact than anything else in your life as it will show you who you really are.
In the Tantric tradition, working with the body, is the basis for self-exploration. Somatic or body based meditation is about working with reality, about working with this earth, working with our sense of perceptions, exploring our experience – it’s not about catapulting one’s self into a different realm, it’s not about leaving behind this concrete earthy reality that is ours. It’s about mastering this human experience. Then, you will actually be able to experience joy, love and pleasure. You will be able to experience your essential nature and release whatever isn’t that.
A GUIDE TO TANTRIC MEDITATION
STEP 1: Find your seat
This sounds very mundane but one of the things you discover if you practice meditation a lot over a period of years is that the way in which you hold your body affects your awareness. If your body is twisted, if your alignment is poor, it actually increases the chaos in your mind. On the other hand, if your body is aligned, relaxed, and comfortable the chaos in your mind tends to settle and you begin to already have a sense of deep regions within your own awareness, before you’ve even begun to meditate.
STEP 2: Belly Breathing
Bring the air that you breathe into the lower belly, and then exhale from the lower belly, again it sounds like a very simple exercise but I think as you will see it is quite demanding and has a very strong impact on our sense of embodiment. The lower belly is our power and the seat of our self-image. By working with the lower belly and it’s energy, through conscious breathing, we begin to encourage the ego to relax. We begin to realise that we don’t have to hold on to our self-image in such a tenacious and rigid way. And as we begin to relax our self-image we begin to find that much of the static and disturbance of our mind is actually connected with trying to maintain our self-image. So working with the lower belly is a way of bringing a greater sense of physical embodiment, helping our ego to relax and connecting us with the Earth beneath us and with the feeling of being in this world, in a wholesome way.
STEP 3: Earth Breathing
The Earth is awakened with a certain kind of enlightened energy. We can breathe earth energy up into our bodies and it gives us a further sense of being grounded and being connected to our bodies. Take some deep breaths, through your belly and all the way into the earth. Imagine that you can breathe right into the earth and that your body is an extension of the earth. Now gently start to move your body in a way that feels tender and opening – something simple like rocking. Notice what sensations open up in your body. Now open your mouth, relax your lungs and take in as deep a breath as you can. Let the breath fall out with a sigh. Keep breathing in this way. Become mindful of the breath. The breath is physical, it enlivens and nourishes our body. We can feel the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Paying attention to the breath, we bring ourselves into a more subtle state of embodiment. We become more subtly and more fully present to who we are and to this moment and to this experience.
STEP 4: Gaining Awareness
First of all, we are working with calming, pacifying and bringing ourselves into a state of less frenetic mental activity, and ultimately into a state of stillness. So, we work with posture, the belly breathing and the earth breathing, to slow down our minds by moving into the body and bringing us into more awareness. Awareness is not a static thing, it is a process of constant adventure and discovery. The purpose of meditation is to engage the energy of our life at this moment. To engage it, to read it, to feel it. We are always working with energy, with the subtlety of a state of being. When we engage in that way, when we open ourselves to working with the body, a lot of things are going to come up. A lot of memories, emotions, feelings and moods. When we meditate with full awareness we are engaging with what is arising, with the full human experience, rather than denying it.
STEP 5: Masculine – Awareness
Take your attention to the third eye. Breathe effortlessly into this point. Now imagine that there is a breath that originates from this point and breathes itself – throughout your head space, throughout your body, and beyond your body. As you enter deeper into this point in the center of your head, you will notice that it is almost as though you are going through the eye of a needle – a gateway – that opens you into vast, unlimited space. This may appear to you as bright light, or as pure blackness. Rest into the vast spaciousness that now starts to pervade your mind and beyond. Watch your thoughts but don’t follow them. If you find yourself following them, come back to the breath in your belly. By watching your thoughts, you will notice that it is engaged in the past, the future, or a process of trying to control your external reality. Consciously remember that this is not what you want to engage in, and then gently disengage it. Do not ever fight your mind – you will never win. It will either beat you now, or you will suppress it and it will come back and beat you later. Instead of fighting the mind, just don’t participate in it. You are not your thoughts. The key is to be quiet. You are NOT the thinking mind, you are aware of the thinking mind. You are awareness. Watch and stay in the body.
STEP 6: Feminine – Feeling
In order to heal we must free our emotions, for emotions are designed to flow and move, never to be anchored within the body. Focus all your attention on your heart. Start to breathe through an open mouth – this helps to let the feelings flow. Pain, pleasure, tension, blockages and everything in between.
Begin by becoming aware of any heartache you may be feeling. If you do not have any specific cause of heartache at the moment, feel into your whole life, connecting with any experiences from your past where the pain of the heart has not been fully accepted and felt. Remember times when you have been slighted, rejected, misunderstood. Connect with past relationships – the pain of things not working out, of breaking up. Feel into your childhood, into your first experiences with your parents and siblings. What were your first encounters with boys and men like? Or with girls and women? Is there pain there that needs to be felt?
Every time you feel a wave of pain coming towards your heart, breathe in. Move your attention toward the pain instead of away from it. If you feel you need more than one in-breath to take in that dose of pain, focus on the in-breath for a few breaths. Then breathe out with sound. Feel the pain; and express and release it with the out-breath with sound. Feel the energy flooding out of your heart with the out-breath. Move your body. Just keep seeing what there is to see, feeling what there is to feel and expressing and releasing it out of your body. Scream or punch into a pillow if you need to, throw a tantrum, shake, stomp, just trust the wisdom of your body. Feel the pain; and let it go with the out-breath as love. Feel the love flooding out of your heart with the out-breath, seeping through your being and out into the world.
Again, with the in-breath, take in the next dose of heartache. Feel the pain in your chest. It is really helpful to put some physical pressure on the sternum with the in-breath to help you mark the pain. Every time you breathe out, let whatever is left in the heart, flow out freely. Bless the world with the love that has been generated in your heart. Bless your own body. Repeat the above but this time with the focus on your womb. There is often more grief in the heart and more anger and frustration in the womb. Express and Release. Let it all. Finish by placing one hand on the heart, one hand on the womb.